The Varsity MTB Challenge will have a unique university flavour. The races are open to the general public, who will be able to race for their university of choice.

“The aim behind the Varsity MTB Challenge is to create a platform where university alumni can compete in a unique race against each other, while also giving them the perfect opportunity to network and rekindle old friendships and camaraderie,” says Duitser Bosman, Varsity Sports CEO. “Apart from general public taking part, the Varsity MTB Challenge will also see Varsity Sports’ university mountain bike teams compete against each other. This section of the race, as well as the Bela Bela leg is proudly sponsored by FNB.”

The five university teams competing for the Varsity Sports Mountain Bike title are determined by the USSA qualification and include Maties, UCT Ikeys, UP-Tuks, NWU-Pukke and Madibaz.

As a further attraction for mountain bike fanatics, both the Bela Bela Challenge and the Franschhoek Challenge will feature new routes, allowing participants to be amongst the first to lay tread on the exciting new terrains.

The two-day Bela Bela route stretches over 120km of technical track, all set against the backdrop of some of the most picturesque landscapes and wild game. The Franschoek route on the other hand cuts across South Africa’s beautiful winelands and passes the Drakenstein Prison where the late Nelson Mandela was once held captive.

Francois Pienaar, ASEM CEO, looks forward to a race of many firsts - “I am excited about launching our new Varsity MTB Challenge mountain bike series. We see this race as bringing together some of the most influential university alumni in South Africa riding in their university colours, alongside Varsity Sports university teams and the general public in a first of its kind, entry format.”